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When Patrick Lane had trouble sourcing the hand-crafted boots he wanted for his namesake company, he decided to open a factory in Leon, Mexico, and make them himself. Now the turquoise-soled brand is walking proud and partnering with some of the western industry’s most prestigious fashion houses.
By Christy Nielson
Patrick Lane, the founder of Lane Boots, never thought he would find himself in the boot making business. “We’d prefer to be buying from other factories, but we went through three factories and none of them was able to execute what we wanted,” explains Lane of his evolution from a broker of other companies’ cowboy boot closeouts to a bonafide cowboy boot manufacturer.
The first pair of Lane Boots was designed and produced in 2009. Since then, the line has exploded from a couple of silhouettes in a variety of colors to over 300 styles. According to Daniel Amado, vice president of merchandising, the spring 2016 collection is comprised of trend-inspired vibrant colors and embroideries, touches of bling and fresh fringe details. “The new collection is an eclectic combination of rustic English riding styles with a touch of urban influence and classic Western detailing interpreted into modern silhouettes,” says Amado.
Justine Lord, president of the company, says Lane Boots has thousands of fashion-conscious fans who report feeling proud, confident and even joyful when they put on their Lane Boots. “It fits their personality – it’s more of a lifestyle than just a pair of boots,” she says about the brand, which is recognizable by its definitive turquoise soles.
Lane Boots are hand-crafted, using traditional methods and machinery – along with a few pieces of cutting-edge equipment to modernize the process – at the company’s factory in Leon, Mexico, the epicenter of Western boot making. It is here that creative designs–which draw on aspects of everything from high fashion and architecture to nature and culture–come to life.
Only the finest materials are used for Lane Boots, and they are meticulously inspected to ensure the quality and comfort that is synonymous with the brand. Premium leathers are cut using metal dies and a computerized automatic cutting machine to shape the various components and patterns of the boots. Artistic embellishments–including stitching, studding, inlays and overlays–are added by hand before the leather pieces are stitched together. Workers hand-apply the leather over the last and insole, creating the foundation for the comfortable fit for which Lane Boots are known. A hand-stitched welt is affixed to the soles, followed by the heels, tacks and lemon wood pegs. The soles and heels are then hand-sanded and shaped in preparation for the application of unique finishes. Finally, the soles are stained in the signature Lane turquoise color.
“We have so much pride in the artisans who make these, it really is artwork for your feet!” Lord says passionately. She adds that customers who appreciate the look of their Lane Boots also enjoy their comfort. “You don’t have the break-in period that you have with some other brands, but at the same time they look amazing,” says Lord.
The design and construction process is handled by a team of craftpeople at the company’s factory in Mexico, which opened in 2013. Additionally, there are another 15 employees (and counting) at the headquarters in Arlington, Texas. It is these people who are the secret to success for this burgeoning business, according to Lane.
“There are a lot of other great companies that make great boots, but I really think it’s the people and the passion that we put behind our designs, quality and services that’s going to continue to make the difference in our success.” Lane adds that his team has also done a good job at building relationships not only with customers, but also with partners and other brands. “We had people who liked us and stuck by us,” he explains. “They kept buying, and we kept trying.”
Lord says that the company’s success is also due in large part to Lane’s vision and his infectious passion. “He’s innovative and fun and open,” she praises. “We’re not afraid of failing. Some things are going to work and some aren’t, but if we’re not constantly doing that we’re not going to grow.”
Part of that growth includes strategic partnerships with other like-minded brands. Beginning in the fall of 2011, Lane Boots partnered with Double D Ranchwear to create Double D Ranch Boots by Lane. The collection is designed by Double D to complement their apparel line and showcases Double D’s unique style and attention to detail.
Kippys is another brand for which Lane Boots will soon manufacture a line. The high-end design house is known for its ornate, one-of-a-kind custom pieces that are worn by celebrities, including Madonna, Beyoncé and Stephen Tyler, to name a few. Additionally, Lane Boots is working on a collection for the popular Boho and rock-n-roll-inspired lifestyle brand, Junk Gypsies.
Lane Boots are available at many upscale Western retailers and cost $350-$650 per pair. Learn more at www.laneboots.com. For additional information about how Lane Boots are handcrafted, watch “The Life of a Boot” video produced by Cowgirl publisher and video director Ken Amorosano at www.cowgirlmagazine.com/the-life-of-a-boot.